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But Patrick says: “Those words plainly insinuate a . plurality of persons. And all other interpretations seem • forced and unnatural.' And he particularly rejects what
For my part, so far as I am able to judge, if those words implied more Divine Persons than one, or more Creators than one; it would not be worth wbile to dispute, whether they are equal, or not.
But, as before intimated, I rather think, that here, and in some other like texts, there is a reference to the angelic order of beings, supposed to be more perfect, and more knowing than man. For though Moses gives no particular account of the creation of angels, their existence is supposed in divers parts of this history. And they may be considered as counsellors only, or witnesses and attendants.
And I cannot help being of opinion, that those christians, who endeavour to prove, from the Old Testament, a Trinity of Divine Persons, or more Creators than one, whether coequal or subordinate, expose themselves to the unbelieving part of the Jewish people, whom they are desirous to gain. For the Divine unity is with them a fundamental article of religion. Remarkable are the words of Lord King, in his Critical History of the Apostles' Creed, upon the first article of it, p. 55, 56. • As for the persons, who were con• demned by this clause, it will be readily granted, that they were not the Jews, seeing the unity of the Godbead is every where inculcated in the Mosaical law, and the body • of that people have been so immoveably fixed and confirm
ed in the belief thereof, that now, throughout their sixteen • hundred years' captivity and dispersion, they have never • quitted or deserted that principle, that God is one; as is • evident from their thirteen articles of faith composed by • Maimonides, the second whereof is the Unity of the blessed • God. Which is there explained to be in such a peculiar • and transcendent manner, as that nothing like it can be • found. And in their liturgy, according to the use of the • Sepharadim, or the Spaniards, which is read in those parts • of the world, in their synagogues, in the very first hymn, ' which is an admiring declaration of the excellences of the • Divine Nature, the repeated chorus is this: All creatures, • both above and below, testify and witness, all of them as • one, that the Lord is one, and his name one.'
And if we would but read the New Testament with care, and then consider what we have read and seen therein; we might know, that one object of worship is there recommended by Christ and his apostles, and that he is the ever
lasting God, the Creator of the world and all things therein, and the same who was worshipped by the Jewish people, and their ancestors.
Our Lord himself says, that he came in his Father's name, and acted by his authority, even his, who, the Jews said, was their God. And he styles him · Lord of heaven and
earth, and the only true God.' And he referred them to their scriptures, as testifying of him.
The apostles of Christ after his ascension, preaching to the Jews, say: “ The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified bis Son Jesus," Acts iii. 13. “ The God of our fathers raised up Jesus,” chap. v. 3. And requesting special assistance from beaven in their work, and under their many difficulties," they lift up their voice to God, and said : Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is. Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said,”—chap. iv. 24, 25,
Paul, writing to the Jewish believers, says: “ God, who at sundry times, and in divers manners, spake in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has, in these last days, spoken unto us by his Son,” Heb. i. 1, 2. He and Barnabas, teaching Gentiles, say: "We preach unto you, that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, who made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein," Acts xiv. 15. And at Athens, says Paul : “God that made the world, and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with bands," chap. xvii. 29.
I think I have now proved, both from the Old and the New Testament, that there is one God, Creator of man and all things in the world,
Accordingly, the first article in the apostle's creed, which ought never to be diminished, or enervated, is this: I be• lieve in God the Father, almighty, maker of heaven and • earth.'
Lett. vii. p. 128, or 479. • Now upon examination into the scriptures, it will appear, that this Messiah, or Christ, . was the same person with the great archangel Michael, • who was the guardian angel of Israel.'
For which the learned author alleges, 1 Cor. x. 4 and 9, and Heb. xi. 26. But as none of those texts appear to be at all to the purpose, for which they are alleged, I need not stay to explain them.
That our blessed Saviour Jesus Christ is not an angel, is d More texts to the like purpose may be seen alleged at p. 117, note e.
evident from many plain texts of scripture. Heb. i. 4–6, “ Being made so much better than the angels, as be bas by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee?-And again, when he bringeth in the first-begotten into the world, he saith : And let all the angels of God worship him." See also ver. 7, and ver, 13, 14. Ch. ii. 5, “ But unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, of which we now speak.” Ver. 16, “ For verily he did not lay hold of angels; but he laid hold of the seed of Abraham.” See likewise the preceding part of that chapter.
And when our blessed Saviour is mentioned with angels, he is distinguished from them. “ I charge thee," says Paul, “ before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels,” 1 Tim. v. 21. And St. John, “ Grace be unto you, and peace, from him, which is, and which was, and which is to come: and from the seven spirits which are before the throne; and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness," Rev. i. 4, 5. Not now to mention any other like texts.
These must be sufficient to satisfy us that Jesus Christ is pot an angel, or one of the angelical order of beings; or we can be assured of nothing.
However, I must not omit Mal. iii. 1, “ Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall
prepare the way before And the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, in whom ye delight.”
Here the Messiah is spoken of as the messenger, or angel of the covenant. Tertullian, referring to this text, or to Isa. ix. 6, says, Christ is an angel by office, but not by nature.' Dictus est quidem magni consilii angelus, id est, nuntius ; officii non naturæ vocabulo. Magnum enim cogitatum Patris super hominum restitutione annunciaturus seculo erat. De Carne Christi. cap. 14. p. 370.
And St. Paul writes, Heb. iii. 1, " Wherefore, holy brethren,-consider the apostle, and High Priest of our profession, Jesus Christ.” Which is paraphrased by Dr. Sykes in this manner : • It is your duty to consider him, as a messenger sent by God, and as the High Priest of our pro"fession.'
Lett. vii. p. 132, or 482, . And therefore, in the fulness of time," saith the apostle, “ God sent forth his beloved • Son, to be made of a woman,” that is, to take human nature upon him,' Gal. iv. 4.
The words of the apostle are these : “ But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth bis Son, made of a woman, made under the law.” It is not, “ to be made," but “ made of a woman, made under the law,” yevojevov er γυναικος, γενομενον υπο νομον, al. νομο : factum ex muliere, factum sub lege.
And the note of Grotius upon the text should be observed. EFATEOtellev- misit Deus Filium suum, primogenitum, ad quem, absente patre, cura pertinebat. Misit, id est, potestatem ei dedit eximiam-factum ex muliere; non creatum eo modo, quo Adamus creatus erat, sed natum partu mulia ebri, quo nobis esset similior; factum sub lege, id est, subditum legi, quia scilicet natus erat Judæus.
Lett. v. p. 78, or 441, · And therefore it manifestly ap'pears from hence, that there is no contradiction, either to • reason or revelation, in supposing that three persons of • Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, to be three Gods, provided it be not at the same time asserted, that these three Gods are one God, or that the Son and holy Spirit are self-existent, or co-eternal, or co-equal with God the Father.'
But is not that an express contradiction to St. Paul, who says,
“ We know that there is no other God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are gods many and lords many). But to us (christians) there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus, by whom are all things, and we by him," 1 Cor. viii. 4-6.
And Eph. iv. 5, 6, “ One Lord, --one God and Father of all.” And Philip. ii. 11,-“ that every tongue should confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Many other texts might be mentioned, but I forbear.
Lett. v. p. 83, 84, or 445, . To which being “anointed," • Acts iv. 27, 28, “ or appointed of God, be is therefore called • the “Messiah,” [or] "Christ," which literally signify " the anointed.” And accordingly, at the same time that we are informed of the transgression of our first parents, we are told for our comfort that the seed of the woman shall • bruise that serpent's head which had occasioned their fall. • Which was accordingly done, when the Messiah, whose • spirit was of a superior order to mankind, condescended
to take human nature upon himself, by being born of the virgin Mary, and went through that scene of trials and * afflictions, to which he was anointed.'
It is not unlikely that some others may speak after the
same manner; but to me it seems very improper; for, as a judicious writer says, Thato name can denote only a per
son who has received gifts, graces, perfections, and a dignity which he did not possess of himself.'
Chrysostom accordingly says, ' That Jesus was called • Christ from the anointing of the Spirit, which was poured
as Και Χριστος. δε απο το χρισθηιναι λεγεται, o και αυτο το σαρκος ην και ποιν, φησιν, ελαιω εχρισθη, Ελαιω μεν εκ εχρισθη, πνευματι δε. Chr. in ep. ad Rom. hom. i. T. IX. p. 430.
To the like purpose Augustin. And, certainly, very agreeably to the scriptures. Therefore it is said : “ You know -how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost, and with power; who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed with the devil For God was with him." Acts x. 38.
And says Mr. Abraham Le Moinc, in his Treatise on Miracles, p. 51, . As to those other passages, wherein it is said, that he was full of the Holy Ghost,” Luke iv. 1, • that “ God gave him not the spirit by measure,” John iii. $ 34, that “ God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy • Ghost, and with power,” Acts x. 38, they visibly relate • to our Saviour's human nature.'
Lett. v. p. 85, or 446, . For if the divine essence, or God• head, did not enter into the womb of the virgin ; when
was it, that that “ fulness of the Godhead which dwelt in • bim bodily," Col. ii. 9, did enter into him ?'
Here I must take the liberty to say, that I do not approve of curious inquiries in things of religion; and that I am afraid to attempt to answer such inquiries particularly, lest I should advance what cannot be clearly made out by the authority of scripture.
However, in general, I answer, in the first place, that the text in Col. ii. 9, does not speak of “a superior order to mankind,” as the author said just now, or, as he expresseth it elsewhere, p. 66, or 430, “ a separate spirit from the Father, and inferior to him." St. Paul's expression is, “ the fulness of the Deity.” And there is but one Deity, or God, even the Father. Thereby therefore must be meant the Father's fulness. So it is said in Eusebius's Commentary
e C'est s'exprimer d'une manière fort suspecte, d'appeler la Nature Divine de notre seigneur du nom de Christ. Ce nom ne peut désigner qu'une personne, qui a reçu des grâces, des dons, des perfections, une dignité, qu'elle ne possédoit pas d'elle même. Beaus. Hist. Man. T. I. p. 115.
Vid. Contr. Maximin. Arian. I. 2. cap. xvi. tom. VIII. VOL. X.